5th September 2016.  U3A.  Report of the Current Affairs Group

Five members attended, and apologies were received from eight members.

  1. This is our last meeting in the Baptist Church. Our next meeting, on 3rd October, will be held in the Committee Room of the Community Centre. The speaker will be from Age UK. As our numbers for today’s meeting were low, please feel free to invite another U3A member to attend with you, as it can be a bit disheartening for a speaker to have such a small audience.
  2. Members’ issues: we briefly discussed Theresa May’s first weeks as Prime Minister, then went on to talk about facilities in the locality for community use. We mentioned a talk we had had a few months ago from Trading Standards, who had offered to visit again to talk on different subjects, perhaps including cybercrime, which has caused real problems to many people. We will pursue this.
  3. We looked at a harrowing picture of Omran Daqueesh, a small boy rescued from the rubble of Aleppo, and members expressed their grief and frustration that there was so little we could do to prevent such outrages. This led us to talk about whether young people realised that war is so widespread all over the world. The Burkina and the whole question of appropriate dress for Muslim women kept us talking for quite a while, though no consensus of a way forward emerged.
  4. Next up for our consideration was Brexit, and the possibility of another vote, though our new Prime Minister’s pledge that Brexit means Brexit suggests not. We seemed to agree that David Cameron’s negotiations with EU member states had not led to any fundamental changes which might have led to a different outcome in the referendum. This was followed by a debate on childhood obesity – it seems that Mrs May does not regards this as a priority, though there was some concern among us that obese patients were being denied operations.
  5. We talked about the accident earlier this year at Didcot Power Station, which was being demolished. Four men died and five were seriously injured when half of a 10 storey boiler house collapsed. One body has been recovered. Now the site owners have called off the operation to recover the remaining three bodies, saying that the operation was ‘too dangerous’.  We  had mixed views about whether the recovery of the missing bodies should be the priority, or whether safety issues for potential rescuers were more important. No consensus, but we were aware of  the grief of the  families concerned.
  6. Finally – are older people more friendly, are local people friendly – Yes to both, we thought. All in all, a lively, constructive meeting, sad yet with some laughter, including a bright newspaper cutting of the Olympic British Women’s Hockey team winning their gold medal.
  7. Next meeting 3rd October, in the new venue, see above.             Judith